"Sunbeam, Airstream, Toaster Camper" by Dick Cooley Glancing at the Dick Cooley metal sculpture that he calls "my Sunbeam, Airstream, Toaster Camper," your first thought is likely to be: Look at that - a toaster on roller skates.

But stare at it a bit longer. Hey - there's a bottle opener for the grill. That's a cheese-grater awning. The lights are actually nuts. And wait a minute ... is that what I think it is?

Yup. "I have a martini shaker on the front for a hitch," Cooley said during a recent phone interview. "I always try to put many different things in a piece."

"Suited Saguaro Sights Migrating Money" by John M. Booth Painter John M. Booth, referencing one of his artworks, says, "Hopefully, it'll put a smile on somebody's wall." The odds are pretty good that it will - in his airbrushed acrylic paintings, there's a lot of smiling going on.

In Booth's Fishin, an enormous red fish grins dementedly as he prepared to devour a small black cat. In Tada, a similar fish - emerald green this time - is balanced on top of a cat, who, in turn, stands upon a dog; their smiles indicate great pride at the feat. (Ta da!) In Good Coffee, a balding, middle-aged man looks frighteningly giddy about taking his first sip.

And throughout Booth's works, many of which can be seen at (http://www.masongraphics.net) and at Riverssance this weekend, his figures - human and animal, smiling and unsmiling alike - are painted in bold, vivid colors, a vibrant array of reds, blues, greens, and purples.

The
Riverssance Festival of Fine Art will be losing one of its founders
after this year's event, with Larry DeVilbiss stepping down from
his second stint as director.

"Persistence of Mother" by Larry DeVilbiss
DeVilbiss
has run the festival for the vast majority of its 19 years - he
returned three years ago when MidCoast Fine Arts took over the event
- but he'll be leaving after this weekend's edition, being held
Saturday and Sunday in the Village of East Davenport's Lindsay
Park. (The River Cities' Reader
is a sponsor of the event. A Riverssance map is located on the back
cover of this week's issue.)

Children PlayingViewing
the work of an artist who has been making art for decades is like
looking at an iceberg. You see the little part that is showing but
not the hidden part, which is years of study, making art, learning
about oneself, and inventing.

The
work of John Dilg, on exhibit at St. Ambrose University's Catich
Gallery through September 29, may seem simple at first glance, but
that is only the tip, the obvious part. Part of the reason is that as
one paints for a long time, one begins to consciously and
unconsciously shed the unnecessary. What remains is the essential.
Dilg's work is simple, spare, and verges on being a visual
language, like hieroglyphs or ideograms. There is a subtle humor
about them, and the dozen small paintings spread around the room feel
like the characters or phrases of this visual language.

Reader issue #596
When
the Davenport Museum of Art brought in Lauren Greenfield's Girl
Culture
exhibit in 2003, it
was the institution's boldest exhibit to-date. A venue not known
for being confrontational showcased Greenfield's high-gloss
photographs with their blunt, distressing messages about the status
of girls and women in the world.

This
fall, the DMA's descendant, the Figge Art Museum, will be getting
edgy again, but in an entirely different way. In addition to the
current show of landscape photography (on display through October 8)
and an upcoming display of African-American quilts (November 18
through February 11), the Figge will have two exhibits that are
likely to alternately unsettle, excite, and confound audiences. And
even the landscape and quilt shows break some boundaries.

Cedar Rapids Harvester Show You open the door and are engulfed by the plump and relentless beats from the DJ. The cave-like basement has pockets of illumination that attract buzzing swarms of twenty- and thirty-somethings to clusters of art, like chicly clad insects to an irresistible bug zapper. The art ranges from jarring paintings, whimsical sketches, and disconcerting collages to kinetic sculptures with whirling wheels of spurs and cast turds on a stick gathered in some kind of dookie Stonehenge.

This was the energetic scene at the Harvester show this spring in Cedar Rapids. The two-day show was a culmination of more than five months of grassroots work by three friends who shared a vision of helping showcase the artistic endeavors of non- or under-represented artists in Iowa. Their journey and lessons can be used by local artists who want to develop their own venue or event.

The Creator and The Critic "In my nightmare, black ominous towers vibrating with negative energy, producing a very low and constant humming sound, surround a picturesque little cottage with a flower garden and a white picket fence. A little girl steps out of the cottage and into the garden, where she bends over to pick a daisy. I yell, 'Don't pick the flowers,' and then I awaken. I knew that the flower was the trigger that would detonate the black towers (nuclear missiles) surrounding her."

 

- excerpt from Harry Brown's artist statement

 

Shirley Stacey is just kickin' back. She has her hair pulled up with a red and white bandanna, and her feet are resting on a pale-blue footstool. The calmness in her face and smooth tonal transitions in her skin initially stand in contrast with the house party of color in the afghan draped behind her wooden chair.

Issue 586 cover
Johanne Jakhelln has worked with unorthodox spaces before. As the
artistic director for Ballet Quad Cities, Jakhelln, for example, has
had to deal with the choir step on the stage at Augustana College's
Centennial Hall. "You have to be creative to integrate that into what
you're doing," she said.

So the Mississippi River is no big thing.
For this Saturday's one-hour performance One River Mississippi,
Jakhelln merely needs to choreograph and coordinate more than 60
volunteer performers at seven sites along the river from the Centennial
Bridge to the roller dam at Locks & Dam 15. She will just work with
dancers, water skiers, boaters, and a Native American medicine woman.
And it only needs to be coordinated with six other river sites -
Itasca, Minnesota; Minneapolis; St. Louis; Memphis; New Orleans; and
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana - and set to music.

No big deal. Just like at Centennial Hall.

Evacuate This Friday marks the opening of Adaptation to Evacuation: From NOLA to Iowa, a show of recent work by Karen Blomme at the Peanut Gallery in Rock Island. The exhibit showcases the transformation of Blomme's art over the course of two tumultuous years of study, reflection, migration, production, and adaptation.

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